British woman launches crowdfunding campaign to prosecute alleged rape

A police investigation turned up "insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction"

British woman launches crowdfunding campaign to prosecute alleged rape

Emily Hunt has launched a crowd funding campaign

A woman in the UK has launched a crowdfunding appeal aimed at bringing rape charges against her alleged attacker after a police investigation turned up "insufficient evidence."

The crowdfunding campaign from London native, Emily Hunt is the first of its kind in the UK.

Ms Hunt, who has waived her anonymity, claims she was drugged and raped at a hotel in May 2015.

She has no memory of meeting the man, only waking up naked in bed next to him.

Ms Hunt reported the incident to police and claims her alleged attacker admitted that sex had taken place.

However, after an investigation, Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided there was "insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction."

"Flawed" investigation

Ms Hunt, from London, has described the police's toxicology report as "flawed" and claims there were "deep problems" with the investigation.

The London Metropolitan Police insist their investigation was "thorough."

The force said those who report a sexual offence are "always provided with support," although Ms Hunt says she did not receive a call from Victim Support until December 2015.

One year on from being told nothing could be done, she has hired a barrister in the hope of pursuing a private prosecution and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for it - the first of its kind in the UK.

Alleged rape

Writing for Sky News, Ms Hunt recalled her memories of the alleged rape.

"As my eyes blinked open I had no idea where I was," she wrote. "Worse, I had no idea who the man was that I saw at a glance, as I peered over my shoulder."

"He was fully clothed, languidly leaning against the headboard, watching TV. I had never seen him before. Something was very wrong.

"It occurred to me suddenly that I'd been drugged. I knew it completely in that moment.

"I didn't find out until two days later - when the police finally got around to telling me - that I had been raped.

"The police had me, my rapist and the hotel room immediately, and yet my case fell through every crack there was." 

Ms Hunt has claimed that under 15% of rapes are reported In the UK - with the CPS achieving a conviction 6% to 7% of the time.

She is hoping to raise £100,000 (€113,000) to "pursue her own rapist" and also fund a separate private prosecution for another victim.

She says she wants to "make it clear to the CPS and everybody who is doing this that rape is now a prosecutable offence in the UK."

Reporting and prosecution

According to the Rape Crisis Networks Ireland (RCNI) Annual report for 2015 - the most up-to-date report available - 65% of survivors who attended 11 rape crisis centres in Ireland did not report the crime to Gardaí or other formal authority.

The DRCC has said it has seen an increase in the reporting of sexual assaults over the past few weeks - following the recent high profile controversies involving leading figures in Hollywood and Westminster.

However, charities have consistently warned that a lack of clear data on violent crime against women in Ireland has left the problem “grossly underestimated.”

DRCC chief executive Noeline Blackwell has called for a large research project on sexual abuse in Ireland to be carried out, noting that no formal research has been undertaken since the ground breaking SAVI report in 2002.

Prosecution statistics

According to the Irish Courts Service Annual Report, a total of 205 people were accused of 971 sexual offences in the Circuit Court in 2016.

These resulted in 489 guilty pleas - and 231 convictions. There were 98 acquittals and 228 instances of Nolle Prosequi - abandonment of prosecution - entered by the DPP. 29 offences were taken into consideration alongside sentences for other crimes.

In the Central Criminal Court, there were 768 rape accusations brought against 96 defendants. These resulted in 142 guilty pleas and 279 trials.

The trials led to 127 convictions, 135 acquittals and 13 cases that led to jury disagreement.

Ms Hunt's crowdfunding campaign has already raised more than £15,000.

Reporting from IRN and Michael Staines ...